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Taking care of your cycle, naturally

When it comes to sanitary items, many women look for a product that will protect them in terms of no leakage or smell, and comfort. What the product is made of and the environmental impact doesn’t often come to mind. It might surprise you to know that many tampons and pads use either synthetic fabrics or plastics as a major component of their make up.

Over her lifetime, a woman will use around 10,000 tampons or pads! Unfortunately, most of these products are made of things like polyethylene and rayon – plastics and synthetic fabrics – that take many years to break down, pollute the waterways, and increase the individuals carbon footprint.

From the outer wrapper and all the way through, an average menstrual pad is about 90% plastic! They’re often uncomfortable, feel ‘plasticy’, and from an environmental standpoint, they’re super hard to get rid of! If we throw them in the rubbish, they go to landfill where they will never degrade. If they’re are incinerated, harmful gases are released that go into the air we breathe. And unfortunately, some people do flush them down the toilet, which result in them ending up in waterways and our oceans.

Many tampons also contain plastic, and we’re not just talking about the applicators! Most tampons are made up of a mix of cotton as well as rayon (plastic) fibres. This plastic component, like pads, will not break down in landfills, and if flushed can pollute waterways and lose fibres creating micro-marine litter in our oceans. With ocean life mistaking these for food, it’s also common for micro-plastics to work their way up the food chain – even ending up on your plate. On top of this, tampons can also often cause drying and irritation from their absorbent nature and the use of some fragrances.

From this perspective, we think it’s worth looking into more environmentally friendly and natural options! Luckily there are some amazing brands that offer plastic free, compostable and natural sanitary products. Our monthly cycle shouldn’t leave a lasting negative impact on the earth, and using these options can help women become more aware of their cycle and the intricacies of their amazing body.

We Recommend:

Natracare

Natracare offers certified organic pads and tampons which are 100% plastic free, compostable, biodegradable, and also are sustainably made. Natracare were the first alternative to conventionally produced menstrual products which at the time were bleached with chlorine gases, leading to dioxane build up. They were also the first brand to measure the complete life-cycle of the menstrual pads they produce!

Mooncup

The Mooncup is made from medical grade silicone, and is a reusable cup that can hold 3 x more than a regular tampon or pad! Mooncups can be easily emptied, rinsed, and reinserted, and can last for many years of use. Instead of using 10,000 individual items, a woman could use around 5 instead – that’s quite a difference in terms of waste, and money spent! As the first reusable silicone menstrual cup, Mooncup’s aim is to make the experience of periods more positive, healthy and eco-friendly. They want people to leave behind the disposable products and the toxins, bleaches, and dyes that come with them.

Bon

New Zealand owned Bon tampons are made from 100% cotton and certified organic. BON began when co-founder Ana Ames Durey suffered a health scare and was advised by her doctors to source organic options for managing her period. She discovered a lack of New Zealand products filling that requirement, and thus the BON brand was born. Bon tampons are easy to use, absorbent and importantly, comfortable! Packaged in a eco and handbag-friendly cardboard tubing, you can carry these without the worry of any loose, white missiles!

Shop online for our range of natural pads and tampons.

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Say “No” to Parabens

With a load of big words on the back of your skincare products, it can be really hard to decipher what’s what! “Paraben free” is something that many people look for – but what exactly are parabens and why should they be avoided?

What are Parabens?

Parabens is the name given to a group chemicals (p-hydroxybenzoic acid (PHBA) esters) which are used as preservatives in cosmetic and pharmaceutical products. This basically means that they help the product last for a longer time and prevents spoiling.

The parabens group includes Methylparaben, Ethylparaben, Propylparaben, Isopropylparaben, Butylparaben, Isobutylparaben, and Benzylparaben. Parabens are frequently found in moisturisers, hair care products, shaving products, make up and even food. Although they are only allowed to be used in cosmetics in very low concentrations, because of the wide range of products they can be found in, it’s estimated that daily use can exceed 17gm for adults. To give some context to this, parabens are often restricted to 4-8 grams per kilogram of product.

In recent years, people are increasingly concerned about the adverse effects of not just a single chemical, but the combination of many chemicals in the skin care products they are using. As we know, whatever we put on our skin is eventually absorbed into our bloodstream. This is no different for parabens, which can absorb through our skin layers and enter our circulation.

Parabens have been found to have estrogenic activity within the body, including in breast, ovarian and testicular tissue, potentially contributing to lowered sperm counts and altered sperm motility. Parabens have also been detected in human urine, blood, fat tissue, amniotic fluid, placenta, and even in breast cancer tissue.

The effects on the body isn’t the only problem with parabens. Because of their widespread use, they are found in high concentrations in waste water treatment plants and require time to degrade. Even though there are methods in place to capture these molecules, parabens have been found in fish, marine mammals, marine birds, and even more remotely in polar bears.

What to Look Out for in Your Products

Have a hunt in the ingredients list to make sure you’re avoiding parabens in your products. At first glance they may seem like long and scary words, but simply hunt for “paraben” at the end of each ingredient.

  • Methylparaben
  • Ethylparaben
  • Propylparaben
  • Isopropylparaben
  • Butylparaben
  • Isobutylparaben
  • Benzylparaben

Our hormone balance is delicate! Avoiding hormone disrupting chemicals like parabens is an important part of maintaining overall wellness throughout life. It’s essential to make sure products are properly preserved so that bacteria, fungi and other microbes don’t grow. The type of preservative however, should be chosen carefully by manufacturers, for both efficacy as well as safety reasons. Fortunately, there are natural options to preserve products, many of which are derived from plants.

We believe that endocrine disrupting chemicals like parabens have no place in cosmetics, which is why parabens and other chemicals are on our Red List. Thanks to our Good Ingredients Promise, you can shop worry-free knowing our products are not only free from nasty chemicals, but environmental pollutants and animal testing too.

Shop our paraben free natural skin care, body carehair care, and natural makeup range now.

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Behind the Scenes with BioBalance ‘New’ Argan Oil

BioBalance have been sourcing Argan Oil from a women’s cooperative in remote Morocco for many years, but it wasn’t until 2017 when BioBalance staffer Lisa visited, that it really sunk in how much hard work goes into producing this amazing oil. BioBalance is beaming with pride at being one half of this sustainable business partnership — and in Morocco, the women workers and their children are reaping the benefits of their hard work.

The 450 Berber women in five villages in the High Atlas Mountains of Morocco are all paid living wages for their work, and the money goes to them (not their husbands). They use this money to support their families while their husbands are away in the big cities seeking further income. The cooperative also supports the women with schooling for them and the children, Doctors visits and medicines for their remote area, fresh drinking water and lessons in traditional crafts such as weaving and sewing.

When BioBalance found out that this product is created with such love by the Berber women they felt it deserved a revamp. Let’s face it girls—who doesn’t love a fresh, new look?

BioBalance Argan oil is now packaged in a 100% recycled cardboard tube, printed with soy inks. It will compost or recycle happily (unlike the old foil pouch) or you can re-use the tubes for makeup brushes or pens. The patterns and colours are inspired by local Moroccan clothing, tiles, and mosques that call the locals to prayer each day.

Inside you will find the same 100% cold pressed certified organic Moroccan Argan oil that you have been used to. It has an exceptionally high percentage of essential fatty acids, including linoleic acid (Omega 6) ensuring the repair and defense of your precious skin and hair.

This product replaces the two Argan Oil products BioBalance used to have – one for skin and another for hair treatment. It can be safely used to moisturize your skin, tame your frizzy mane or nourish thirsty hair. It can be used as an overnight hair treatment mask, or rubbed generously onto skin. It has no nasty chemicals, preservatives or additives and is not tested on animals – it is 100% Vegan. The Argan Tree is grown in a way that cares for and nurtures the Moroccan environment and this Argan oil is created by a group of entrepreneurial women for women all over the world to enjoy.

Every time one of the BioBalance Argan Oil products is purchased, BioBalance will donate $1 back to the local women’s cooperative to help make more of a difference. This year the ladies are saving up to buy a vehicle to drive the children to school across the rugged mountain terrain to save them walking in the blistering heat and freezing cold. So, let’s make a difference! When women support women, incredible things can happen.

Watch Lisa’s Journey below:

Bio Balance Certified Organic Argan Oil - Behind the Product - YouTube

Shop BioBalance Argan Oil online now.
 

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Salted Caramel Maca Smoothie

Salted caramel is such a delicious combo! And even better when it’s made with all natural ingredients. This recipe uses the superfood Maca, which not only provides flavour, but also naturally supports normal hormone balance and mood. Enjoy this smoothie as a morning pick me up, or snack. Try pairing it with our Gluten Free Crepes with Chia Berry Compote, for a special Mother’s Day breakfast in bed.

Serves 2

Ingredients 

  • 2 cups almond milk
  • 4 Medjool dates, pitted
  • 2 tsp Maca powder
  • 1 TB cashew or almond butter
  • ¼ tsp vanilla paste
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 frozen bananas
  • 2 TB vanilla pea protein powder (optional)
  • ½ cup ice
  • 1 inch Himalayan sea salt

Preparation
1. Add all ingredients to a high speed bender and blend until smooth.
2. Poor into glasses and enjoy!

Tried this smoothie? Share you photos with us on Facebook or Instagram @HealthPostNZ.

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Crepes with Chia Berry Compote

Treat Mum with a delicious breakfast for Mother’s day! These light, gluten free crepes are filled with a sweet chia berry compote and coconut yoghurt, perfect for breakfast in bed, brunch or even dessert.

Makes 4 servings (approx. 8 crepes)

Ingredients

Chia berry compote

  • 1 cup mixed berries
  • ½ cup water
  • ¼ cup chia seeds

Crepes

  • 1 cup ground almonds
  • 1 cup tapioca flour
  • 2 cups full fat coconut cream
  • 1 TB coconut sugar
  • ¼ tsp vanilla paste
  • coconut oil for cooking

Fillings

  • 1 large banana
  • Coconut yoghurt

Preparation
1. Add the mixed berries and water to a small pot and warm on medium heat until berries start to fall apart. Remove from heat and add in chia seeds. Set aside.
2. In a medium bowl whisk together almond meal, tapioca starch and coconut cream with vanilla paste and sugar.
3. Heat a large frying pan over medium heat with a small amount of coconut oil. Add approximately 1/3 cup of batter and swirl to completely cover bottom of pan. Cook until underside of crepe is golden brown, approximately 2 to 3 minutes.
4. Loosen edge of crepe with a rubber spatula and quickly flip. Cook 1 minute more. Slide crepe out of the pan and repeat with remaining batter.
5. To serve, fill crepes with chia berry compote, chopped banana and coconut yoghurt. Roll up and enjoy!

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Feijoa & Apple Crumble Recipe

What better way to use up all those delicious feijoa’s at this time of year! This crumble recipe is sure to please the whole family, perfect for a sweet treat or warming dessert on one of these cooler days.

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Servings: 10

Ingredients

Filling

  • 4-6 apples
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3 cups feijoa fruit pulp

Crumble

  • 1 cup desiccated coconut
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup ground almonds
  • 6 TB coconut sugar
  • 250g unsalted Butter
  • 1 ½ tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 170 degrees.
2. Peel, core and chop the apples into medium chunks, add to pot with water and cinnamon, cook until semi-soft.
3. Meanwhile place desiccated coconut, ground almonds, oats and coconut sugar in a large mixing bowl and combine.
4. Chop butter into small cubes and add to the crumble mixture, with cinnamon and vanilla paste. Mix and rub in with fingertips until it resembles an even crumbly mixture.
5. Drain apples and transfer to an oven proof dish, add feijoa pulp.
6. Cover fruit with crumble mixture by gently crumbling over with fingers.
7. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden.

Did you make this recipe? Share your photos with us on Facebook or Instagram @HealthPostNZ.

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Kid’s Winter Health Essentials

Our Natural Health Expert, Liz Jury, shares with us her favourite picks for keeping the kids in tip top health this winter.

The darker mornings and cooler breeze definitely signals that winter is on it’s way! Thinking ahead to ensure you and your family have all you need in your medicine cabinet is a great idea at this time of year. Get prepared now, so your winter is easier.

Nordic Naturals Children’s DHA liquid

Sourced from Cod Liver Oil from the Arctic, this strawberry tasting oil has a decent amount of EPA and DHA Omega 3 fatty acids in each ½ teaspoon serving. DHA is wonderful support for growing brains, eyes and immune systems. This formula also contains naturally occurring Vitamin A and D. This can be easily mixed into a smoothie or even yoghurt.

Artemis Kid’s Viro-Gone

The legendary herbs in this lovely liquid will support a healthy immune response to ills and chills. It can be taken in the lead up to winter at a lower dose, or for immediate relief at a higher dose. The liquorice will soothe the throat and also helps it to taste great. A treasured first-aid kit essential to have on-hand.

Nuzest Kids Good Stuff

The tastiest multi-vitamin smoothie around! Choc-banana, Choc-mint, or Choc-honeycomb can be easily blended with a liquid of your choice and provides a plant based powerhouse of nutrition. As well as protein, greens, and berries, your lucky child will receive a decent dose of vitamins, minerals, and probiotics to support everyday wellness as well as immunity and digestion. It’s a great after school smoothie addition – or try getting the kids creative in the kitchen and make this delicious smoothie ‘b-owl’ below.

Kids Good Stuff Smoothie B-Owl Recipe - YouTube
Ethical Nutrients Inner Health Immune Booster Kids

The three strains of beneficial bacteria found within the Immune Booster have been shown to shorten the frequency of ills and chills and support a healthy immune system in children. This powder can be easily mixed into liquids for your children to take daily. Ethical Nutrients probiotics are evidence-based and their comprehensive manufacturing ensures a high quality product.

Go Healthy Go Colostrum Chewable Bears

Sourced from NZ cows, colostrum provides growth factors which strengthen and support a healthy immune system. As well as this, colostrum will help with the normal healthy repair of your child’s growing body during stress or injury. Colostrum tends to be low in lactose, and contain minerals like magnesium.

Kiwiherb Kid’s Calm

Children can feel stressed too, usually for different reasons than adults, but it is just as real for them and can impact on their immunity. The Chamomile in Kid’s Calm works on both the nervous system and the digestive system, to soothe the mind and tummy of your little one. Whether it’s adjusting to school, or having a busy mind that is interfering with sleep, or simply just feeling worried about all the homework, Kid’s Calm offers great support during stressful moments.

Have you tried any of these products for your child? Don’t forget to leave a review!

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Chicken Zoodle Soup

Our digestive health is a key component of our immune system, so keeping it up to scratch is especially important as the winter chills start to creep in! This nourishing soup is the perfect comfort food on a cold day. Rich in vitamins and minerals with the added benefits of bone broth, this soup will warm you up and help to support a healthy immune and digestive system.

Total Time: 30 minutes
Makes: 4 generous servings

Ingredients

  • 2 large organic chicken breasts
  • 6 cups water
  • ½ white onion, finely sliced
  • 3 medium zucchinis
  • 1 large carrot
  • 3 TB Nutra Organics Chicken Bone Broth – Garden Herb
  • 2 TB white miso
  • 10 cm lemon grass
  • ½ tsp  fresh ginger, grated
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Spring onion, chopped
  • ¼ cup Fresh parsley, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation

  1. Place whole chicken breasts in the bottom of a large pot and cover with 6 cups water. Bring to boil over medium-high heat. Once boiling, using a spoon skim off any white foam that may have appeared on the surface. Reduce heat to low, cover and continue to simmer. Chicken should be cooked through in about 20 minutes total.
  2. Meanwhile using a vegetable spiraliser or vegetable peeler and knife, cut the zucchini into thin noodle-like strips (zoodles). Set aside in a large bowl.
  3. Once chicken breast is cooked, remove chicken from pot and set aside.
  4. Add bone broth powder, miso, lemongrass, ginger, onion and garlic to the stock and let simmer for 5 minutes.
  5. Shred chicken breast with 2 forks.
  6. Add zucchini and carrot zoodles and shredded chicken to the pot and let cook covered for a further 5 minutes.
  7. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with spring onions and fresh parsley to serve.

Made this recipe? Share your photos with us on our Facebook page or Instagram @HealthPostNZ.

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Refined Sugar Free Anzac Biscuits

Super easy to make and even refined sugar free, this healthier variation of the iconic Kiwi baked treat will keep your energy high after the early morning dawn parade.

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Makes: 15 biscuits

Ingredients

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup desiccated coconut
  • ½ cup ground almonds
  • ½ cup coconut sugar
  • ¼ cup tapioca starch
  • ½ cup coconut oil, melted
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 2 TB hot water

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 160 degrees Celsius and line two baking trays.
  2. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl until well combined.
  3. Roll mixture into 12-15 balls and place onto baking tray, then press each ball down with fingertips to slightly flatten.
  4. Bake for 15 minutes, or until golden brown.
  5. Place on a wire rack to cool. Once cooled store in an airtight container.

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Immune Support Gummies

Want to ward off those pesky change of season ills and chills? Try these delicious, homemade gummies packed with vitamin C, turmeric and ginger to help support a strong immune system.

Prep time: 5 minutes
Makes: 30- 40 gummies

Ingredients

  • 2 cups lemon juice
  • 2 cups water
  • 4 tsp Clinicians Hi-Dose Vit C Powder
  • 4 TB Manuka honey (more if you like it sweeter)
  • 1 TB grated ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. Turmeric powder or 1TB fresh, grated
  • 7 TB gelatin powder

Preparation

  1. Combine lemon juice, water, vitamin C powder, honey, ginger and turmeric in a medium saucepan and heat over medium heat until just starting to bubble.
  2. Once bubbling, remove from heat and whisk in gelatin powder.
  3. Pour through a fine sieve into any dish, container or mold of your choosing.
  4. Refrigerate until set. Best when left to set overnight.
  5. Cut into bite sized gummies and enjoy. Store in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.

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